When Students Stop Sticking Their Feet Out

Kids quit acting helpless once they discover the joys of independence.

The President of Let Grow’s piece in this week’s issue of THE Journal, a magazine for educators, looks at how to make kids less passive and worried:

BY LENORE SKENAZY

“They are not sticking their feet out as much anymore.”

That’s what the principal of a Long Island elementary school told me when I asked if she’d noticed her students becoming any more independent after they’d been given the homework assignment: “Go home and do something new on your own, without your parents.”

“You mean they used to trip each other more?” I asked, confused.

“No!” said the principal. “They used to stick their feet out for the teacher to tie their shoes. Now they’re not doing that as much anymore.”

It’s funny how one little story can bring an entire issue into focus, but that one did the trick. Over the course of a generation or two, something changed in the can-do attitude of kids. The upside is that they are not afraid or ashamed to ask for help. The downside is that somehow, they don’t feel as much need to hurry up and learn a basic skill that would allow them to get places, literally.

Lenore goes on to discuss more stories of student transformation that began once kids were given a little more room to do things on their own — including “mess up” — thanks to being assigned The Let Grow Project. Read the rest by clicking here!

Download our the simple Let Grow Project Implementation Guide by clicking here! It’s free!